Ulen-Hitterdal is not only smiling because it avoided the Mayan's prediction of complete extinction, but because it remained undefeated after sneaking past Ada-Borup in the final two minutes of Thursday's basketball game in Ulen.
The No. 8 Spartans (5-0) held its composure to come back from seven points down at halftime and beat the Cougars 55-53 in dramatic fashion.
After a 10-0 run at the game's beginning, the Cougars maintained the lead for nearly the entire game, as its offense remained patient and it figured out how to stop Ulen-Hitterdal's pick and roll offense.
"We found ourselves right away, we moved as one team for much of the game," Ada-Borup coach Trevor Stewart said. "But they (Ulen-Hitterdal) came at us in the second half and made us uncomfortable... and they were able to make the decisive play in the end."
Ada-Borup (5-2) led with two minutes to play after a Spartans player's attempt to save the ball from out of bounds ended going through Ada-Borup's iron for two points and an acrobatic 3-point play by Joel Merkens gave the Cougars a 53-50 lead.
The lead, as quickly as it resurfaced, disappeared, as Ulen-Hitterdal's Neil Henrickson tied the game by nailing his fifth triple of the night with 1 minute and 3 seconds left to play.
"Neil has put in a lot of time for this team ever since he started playing his freshman year, and his hard work paid off yet again tonight," Ulen-Hitterdal coach Brett Maass said about his senior guard's 19 point performance. "I think he's really taken his game to the next level this year... he's as good as I've ever seen him."
Tied at 53-53, with just under a minute to play, Ada-Borup opted to drain the clock before attacking the hoop. The clock winded down to show 14 seconds when an Ada-Borup pass was jumped and intercepted by Jacob Brooks who proceeded to miss a layup, but Henrickson covered with a put back score to give his team the 55-53 lead it needed for the win.
"We work every single day on straight man-to-man defense with an emphasis towards situations like we faced at the end tonight," Maass said. "I tell them at every practice: 'If we play good defense, we'll come away with the victory.' The guys did that tonight, and I couldn't be more proud of them."